22 Nov 2023 | R&A Charter | Women and girls |
Busselton Golf Club becomes first regional WA Women in Golf signatory
by Jimmy Emanuel
Busselton Golf Club has become the fourth Western Australia signatory to the R&A Women in Golf Charter – and is the first regional WA club to join the global initiative.
The Charter outlines a set of principles that signatories commit to implementing in order to promote gender equality in golf.
These include measures to encourage more women and girls to play golf, improve access to facilities and coaching, and create more opportunities for women to work in the golf industry, including in leadership roles.
Busselton follows Gosnells, Lakelands and Sun City in becoming a charter signatory in the West, and Office Manager Jude Hood believes the process is an important step for clubs in changing perceptions of what golf is all about.
“For us, signing up to the Charter was a bit of a no-brainer,” she said.
“We want to encourage people to come and play here and we want to be seen as a club that is proactive and welcoming to everybody.
“Like it or not, there is a perception that golf clubs aren’t necessarily welcoming environments to new or potential members.
"While that’s usually not true, becoming a Charter signatory is a very public statement of our intention to provide a welcoming environment for everybody – with women and girls central to that.”
Working closely with Golf Australia, Busselton developed a Women & Girls action plan, which has already seen a number of key initiatives undertaken.
From next year, women’s club championships will be moved from a traditional weekday slot to a multi-day format to enable more working women and students to participate.
Existing women members will also act as on-course mentors to newcomers who may feel intimidated taking the step into competitive golf.
The club has also introduced a new series of beginners clinics for women, the first wave of which in October swiftly sold out.
“The response we had to the clinics was incredible,” Hood said.
“We scheduled them on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays to offer as much choice as possible, with women signing up for four weekly 90-minute lessons. We had 86 registrations in the space of 24 hours.”
Hood believes that part of the appeal of the clinics was the accessible nature of the advertising.
“We marketed the clinics as ‘Swing and Sip’, with attendees invited to enjoy a sociable drink with their fellow participants at the end of each lesson.
"That worked very well and helped create an immediate environment of fun and friendship.”
Due to popular demand, a second series of ‘Swing and Sip’ is scheduled throughout November, with women from as far afield as Bunbury, Dunsborough and Margaret River making the trek to Busselton to join in the fun.
In order to keep participants keen, those who attend lessons are able to take up a special three-month membership deal for just $199 and are provided golfing goodie bags that include tees, balls, markers and coffee vouchers.
“We don’t have a huge number of women members here, but we’re very encouraged by the response to the clinics,” Hood said.
“There’s clearly a lot of untapped interest in golf out there and we’re doing our very best to make sure those that come here thoroughly enjoy the experience.”
The adoption of the Women in Golf Charter in Australia provides an excellent opportunity for clubs, organisations and communities to join forces and collectively attract more women and girls to golf.
To submit an expression of interest for your club to become a Women in Golf Charter signatory, please register here.
From there Golf Australia will arrange a brief meeting with your local Golf Australia or Clubs and Facilities Support Manager, and the Women and Girls Engagement Team.
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